3 Keys to Employee Engagement from Coach K


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3 Keys to employee engagementDo you ever find yourself looking to various sports for examples that you can use to improve employee engagement? Have you ever stopped to ask why there are coaches and teams that are consistently at the top? Have you wondered why these programs produce leaders that go to create other winning teams? I find myself looking to emulate great coaches (leaders) all of the time.

There surely is a long list of winners to study. Here in my home state of North Carolina we have college basketball programs like Duke University that have a tradition of winning that goes back several decades.

Coach K is More than a Winner

At Duke University, Mike Krzyzewski (Coach K) he has been the head men’s basketball coach since 1980. Coach K has led the Duke University Blue Devils to four NCAA Championships, 11 Final Fours, 12 Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) regular season titles, and 13 ACC Tournament championships. Coach K is also the coach of the United States men’s national basketball team that has won two gold medals. Coach K is the winningest coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball history.

Not only has Coach K lead winning teams, he has also developed a long list of successful leaders as well.

Coach K was also benefited by being developed by the Hall of Fame Coach Bob Knight who he played for at the United States Military Academy. The biography in the Hall for Coach Knight talks a lot about fundamentals, discipline, and focus being hallmarks of his teams. Coach K got a great start and has carried these three keys (and others) forward to even greater success than his mentor.

It’s the lack of these three very important keys that prevent many organizations from obtaining the financial and public recognition that can be obtained from high levels of employee engagement.

GET the 99 Employee Engagement Statistics ebook and see our tribute to another Hall of Fame Coach John Wooden.


As we all know you must have the right fundamentals to be successful. You need the essential components that are the foundation of employee engagement for success in employee engagement. You need to hit the bedrock, the solid layer of employee engagement that allows you to build greatness.

Years of empirical evidence tells us that one very important fundamentals for employee engagement is WELL-BEING. When research was conducted on over eight years of employee engagement case studies, well-being was identified as the number one key factor (fundamental) in organizations that had high employee engagement. Unfortunately, this truth has eluded many selling employee engagement solutions and organizations that are trying to improve employee engagement.

Do your Employee Engagement Surveys measure Well-Being?

As humans we all have to make an assessment of our situation in order to design a plan to make changes; when a change is desired. Employee satisfaction surveys and employee engagement surveys have become the default method to assess the state of employee engagement. And they should be. But does the information contained in these surveys reveal your culture of well-being? It’s not likely.

For example, the Gallup Q12 asks if you have a friend at work. When the Q12 was created several decades ago this was an important factor in employee engagement, but studies today have revealed this to have very little importance. So why is it still used? A few reasons are the volume and popularity. Gallup has over 5 million responses to this (not so important) question and several books and people continue to proliferate its (decades old) benefits. Like gorillas, somethings never evolve.

When you measure for well-being, you should not ask about benefits, compensation, or what you think of your boss. You also should not ask about trust or (believe it or not) well-being. It’s true. Well-being is complex and made up of different fundamental elements. So it’s the fundamentals of well-being that you must measure. After many years of research, I found the best way to measure well-being was by focusing on seven core elements.

GET the 7 Keys to Employee Engagement ebook for more details

You need a proper prescription for employee engagement

By focusing on these, several things are revealed that enable prescriptive actions to be taken that generate more trust, improved sense of well-being, and more leaders. With a disciplined approach that focuses on these fundamentals organizations have experienced high levels of trust, more collaboration, less conflict, greater innovation, and more profits.

Just like Coach K, if you take a focused and disciplined approach on the fundamentals you can be the winningest coach of all time.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jim Rembach
Jim Rembach is recognized as a Top 50 Thought Leader and CX Influencer. He's a certified Emotional Intelligence practitioner and host of the Fast Leader Show podcast and president of Call Center Coach, the world's only virtual blended learning academy for contact center supervisors and emerging supervisors. He’s a founding member of the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s CX Expert Panel, Advisory Board Member for Customer Value Creation International (CVCI), and Advisory Board Member for CX University.


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